Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Didja file yet?

Don't forget, the Homestead rebate app needs to be filed by 8/15/2007. You can file online.

East Windsor gets the decision

Late last week, the the state Supreme Court ruled on the Twin Rivers case , upholding the homeowner association's rights to limit political signs and other types of ordinarily protected "free" speech:
In a ruling that could have implications far beyond New Jersey, the State Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the right of homeowners’ associations to restrict the posting of political signs and other forms of constitutionally protected speech, as long as the restrictions are not “unreasonable or oppressive.”
“We conclude that in balancing plaintiffs’ expressional rights against the association’s private property rights, the association’s policies do not violate the free-speech and right-of-assembly clauses of the New Jersey Constitution,” the court ruled unanimously.
Like many big developments around the country, Twin Rivers is run by a homeowners’ board, and some residents there objected to the restrictions on the political signs as well as restrictions on the use of community rooms for meetings and the publication of dissenting views in the homeowners’ association newspaper.
A state judge supported the association’s contention, ruling that people who moved to the development were aware of the rules and had to abide by them. But last year a state appeals court reversed that ruling, finding that residents of Twin Rivers were entitled by the State Constitution to express themselves as they wished.
The Supreme Court on Thursday reinstated the trial court’s decision.
The ruling could affect about 1.3 million New Jersey residents — nearly 40 percent of all private homeowners — and more than 50 million people around the country whose homes are part of an association.

Blue Jersey has got Ed Barocas, ACLU-NJ Legal Director, commenting on the case.

Monday, July 30, 2007

A solar power player

Our Fair State is second to California in our solar energy production, but tough days are ahead for that all imporant state rebate:

So far, government rebates — financed by $6-a-year charge to residential ratepayers and a higher charge to businesses — have been the basis for solar's growth in New Jersey. But with a lengthy waiting list for rebates, officials are searching for less expensive ways to expand the state's solar energy initiative.

The state's solar program started in 2001 with six homeowners installing panels that capture the sun's rays and turn them into electricity. Since then the program has grown to over 2,300 installations on homes, businesses, houses of worship and schools, generating about 38 megawatts of electricity — enough energy to power about 4,500 homes. During that period, about 100 solar-related companies have sprouted up.
Some in the industry fear a state Board of Public Utility proposal, which tries to encourage more private investment and move away from direct government subsidies, has serious flaws that may slow or even halt the state's progress in a competitive solar energy marketplace.

(Let's hear it for the fact that we're second to sunny California in production- and beat Arizona! Can I get a Woo-hoo?)

Unfortunately the rebates, which are very generous and have been a great incentive to go solar, are expensive for the taxpayer at large. Moving toward private investment is a good idea, but as Mark Warner, CEO of SunFarm Network, asks about the BPU plan: "Are they going to get it right or are they going to get it wrong?"

They're expected to vote on the plan Aug. 1st, so they have very little time to finish putting it together. It's a sure bet that everyone will be unhappy with some aspect of the new solar plan, but it makes sense to try to move away from an entirely taxpayer-funded rebate.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Brewing fun

We're more than halfway through the bottling process of a batch of beer- the bottles are sanitized, the priming malt added, the beer is in the bottling bucket- and we go to sanitize the bottle caps.

I don't have enough caps. Dammit. Andrew's on the run right now to pick up some more.

The only good thing about this is, since he's already on the way there, I called Brewer's Apprentice and placed an order for ingredients for another batch. He'll pick it up while there and we can get the fermenter full again; keep replenishing the empty basement homebrew stash.

This batch is an American pale ale (our version of an ESB, but with American hops and yeast) and now we're making a porter.

Hey, it's too hot to go hiking or even walk the dog, we've got to do something this weekend, why not brew?

Well, duh.

Corzine's motorcade told to cut speed:

A panel that studied Gov. Jon Corzine's State Police protection detail after he was gravely injured in a motor vehicle accident said yesterday the motorcade should not drive at excessive speeds or use emergency lights unless there is a specific threat.

No kidding!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Finished it

I'm holding true to that promise not to say anything about the book.

But it's hard to keep that promise.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

The Waiting

It's not here yet. I checked when I got up.

So, I made breakfast and put it in the oven. Now I'm on the computer waiting for both breakfast and my package to be delivered.

Just checked- it's still not here.

Amazon said they sent it, so it should be here soon. Just like so many people (most of them under 15 years of age, but certainly not all) I'll be on media blackout until I finish the Harry Potter book. I'm taking no chances of accidentally tripping over a spoiler.

I checked again. It's still not here.

I was hoping to get some reading done before my oldest wakes up and asks for the book; I guess we should have ordered more than one copy for the three people in this house who want to read it. We made a strict family rule about not saying one single thing about the book until we've all read it.

I just thought I heard a truck, but it's still not here.

I promise to honor that strict family rule here on the blog and give not one detail. I'll be back when I'm finished reading.

Maybe I'll go check on breakfast. Or make some coffee.

Or sit in the living room to wait for the UPS guy to show up.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Wha... huh?

The Republican council members in Hamilton want to put a referrendum on the ballot to ask township residents if they want to spend the alloted $4.1 million to buy Klockner Woods.

The Republican council members posing the question have fought the purchase of the land since taking office in 2006, but have agreed to abide by the people's vote.
"I think the voters have already spoken loud and clear that they don't want the land at the price," said Council President Dave Kenny, referring to the 2005 election, when the purchase was a major campaign topic. "The mayor has said the people support the purchase, so let's ask the people."
Mayor Glen D. Gilmore, who championed the purchase of the land after receiving a petition signed by neighbors of the woods asking for its preservation, said he also would abide by the referendum, but doing so might be complicated.
"I would be glad to let the people of the township decide whether or not they think Klockner Woods should be preserved," Gilmore said. "At this point we are under court order to move forward with the preservation so if the community decides we should not preserve these woods I imagine what we would need to do is complete the preservation as ordered and then put the land up for sale."

That's right, there is a court order! Oh, yeah! (council members smack their foreheads as if remembering they could've had a V8.) "Complicated" is an understatement. So putting this on the ballot now is what, simple political posturing?

BTW, the price is no longer $4.1 million- It's over $4.6 million, because of the interest that's accruing while you continue to bicker. Be honest about what you're spending here.

Insuring for Civil Unions

We've heard a lot about the failure of civil unions in Our Fair State, not surprising since all separate-but-equals eventually are proven only to separate and not to be equal. So, it was refreshing to get a notice with an insurance renewal notice that Endorsement FE-6854: Civil Union endorsement will be added to my policy, replacing the word "spouse" with "spuse or party to a civil union considered valid under the laws of the state shown in our policy records as your state of residence" as well as redefining "relative" to include parties to a civil union.

A small bright spot, anyway.

Sunday, July 15, 2007


Darkman wouldn't go up the stairs this morning. Usually, when we leave the house for a while, we put the dogs in our room (so no more cherished stuffed animals get their faces eaten off.) I tried to get Darkman to go up without grabbing his collar and dragging him, but he wouldn't go; he was wating for Blackjack to go first. Blackjack always went first.

Last night, Blackjack became ill rather quickly. When we realized he was in pain we called the vet and headed to Red Bank Vet Hospital, but we didn’t make it; he died in the car. We have theories, but we’re not sure what it was, and we’ll never know.

Darkman will never really understand. He'll have to get used to going first, now that he's alone.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Freezing summer

Today the air-conditioner guy came to where I work to fix the air conditioner. It was early, 9:30ish, before it was even warm out. While the air conditioner was off, two of the people I work with were terribly hot. One got fans and aimed them directly on where we were working (which is to say, on ME) because the oppressive heat was bothering her so much.

Ice cold, I left the area, finding duties in another room to occupy me.

A little while later when I had come back, a co-worker commented he felt cold. Relieved that it wasn't just me, I shut off the fan that was still blasting on us, and checked the thermostat.

It was sixty-eight degrees.

That's the temperature my heat gets set for in the winter!

Why does the world have to be refrigerated six months of the year? Why when I wear summer clothes anywhere do I feel like I must bring a sweater? Why??

I'm not asking to sweat. I'm asking for mid-seventies temperatures indoors.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Hamilton looking into solar

Hamilton mayor Glenn Gilmore is considering solar for township buildings:

Gilmore's plan involves soliciting solar power firms to install the solar panels, then sell the generated power to the township for a specified length of time, generally from 10 to 25 years.
"Solar panels could help us significantly reduce our electric costs, while also helping us to be more environmentally responsible," Gilmore said. "We're looking at not only cutting our energy costs, but also at cutting harmful emissions we as a municipality generate."
Gilmore estimated the township could save as much as 10 percent off the township's nearly $1 million per year energy bill by finding a solar provider willing to enter into the "purchase power agreement."

Good luck finding a solar provider willing to do that!

Thursday, July 05, 2007


Speaking for the 79% of us who disapprove of Bush's 'performance' as president, Keith Olberman, once again, says it best:

(hat tip On Our Radar)

A new low

Quinnipiac released a new poll this morning which puts Bush's approval rating in Our Fair State at 21%:

Voters say 76 - 18 percent that the U.S. is headed in the wrong direction.
They disapprove 75 - 21 percent of the way President Bush is handling the war and say 57 - 38 percent that Congress should set a deadline to withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq.
"President Bush's approval rating has hit an all time low of just 21 percent - lower than we've ever measured for a President in any state or national poll," Richards said.

Lowest approval rating for any president ever. Now, that's something to be proud of; you have to really work to get that low. Bear in mind also that the poll was taken from June 26- July 2nd; so the commutation of Scooter Libby's sentence doesn't even factor in here.

(cross-posted at Blanton's and Ashton's)

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Vote for Springfield NJ

USA today has the voting up for the Simpsons premiere: vote here.

(Springfield, PA didn't even field an entry. What's up with that?)

Blogger in the State House

Great article about Jay Lassiter, Blue Jersey's state house correspondent.